The Beaumont section of TRR takes up two chapters, and provides a variety of diamond option scenes, three of which involve Liam. I feel this takes place at a very interesting point in the story, because:
1. For the first time we see a Liam that is finally confident in his decision to choose the MC, and feels freer to finally lavish her with the attention he feels she deserves.
2. We see him also wanting to be more involved in his relationship with the MC. He clearly isn’t satisfied with the status quo, where she makes most of the effort, she spends time and money and energy working on herself to fit into his world, where he is just the eligible bachelor people are trying to please (though to be fair, he does as much the rules allow him to do up until this point). The Beaumont chapters highlight his need to do the same for her.
This is the first time Liam and the MC going on a date together.
Scratch that. This is the first time Liam goes on a date ever. He’s never actually had the opportunity to take a woman out or plan an evening or entertain her. He has to do actual research to even figure out what it entails. Given the hassle with “schedules and security”, and the tradition of being introduced to women he is interested in through third parties in Cordonia, the concept of dating itself seems as foreign to him as the Cordonian waltz is to the MC.
It’s a testament to how far he is willing to go for her, that he tries to do something so completely out of his comfort zone just to make her feel like he is “meeting her midway”.
Liam knows that the MC revels in simplicity. If she chooses to take him to a beach cove when they first meet, it’s because it’s a simple, but intensely private place for her, and she takes him there only because she trusts him. Throughout the book, the experiences she has given him are striking in their lack of grandeur, yet speak to him emotionally (the maze tag, the cronut shop, celebrating Drake’s birthday). So it makes sense for him to keep things simple for their first date, with wine and pasta and great conversation. The MC gets to ask him as many first date questions as she wants, and even though he finds them “fun and a little silly”, he gives her little glimpses into the things he is fond of and stuff he believes in.
Liam also makes his first, very tentative confession about his feelings for the MC. In doing this, he follows a pattern that all the LIs in the book will be following - of confessing their love to the MC more than once - the first being a nervous tentative one, followed by a slightly stronger one at the Coronation itself. Drake has three instances where he does this (post-Tariq fiasco, at the Beaumont study and pre-Coronation), Hana has two (room service and fulfilling her wishlist at Coronation - that is, if you choose to kiss her) and Liam has two (first date and the hedge maze at Coronation).
What fascinates me about this sequence is how closely it echoes their first meeting. There are obvious parallels: Maxwell, who was one of the MC’s customers at the bar she worked in, is now serving them food at “Chateau Beaumont”, Liam finally gets her the drink that he owes her (if she chose to take him to the cove, that is), and most importantly, the MC brings up the dream she had told him about, and asks him in return what his dream is. He tells her he wants her a family.
This is where the cracks in his stoic upbringing begin to show. It is also where we get to see why he is so set on making such a difference in his family and country. He doesn’t want to put anyone else through what he has been through.
Given the parallels made throughout to their first meeting, the date gives us an idea of what they would have been like if they were just an ordinary couple, not a Crown Prince and his suitor caught in the quagmire of Cordonian politics.
The White-and-Blue Suit
This option springs up during the surprise meeting between Liam and the MC in the Beaumont House boutique, when she convinces him to match her outfit at the Beaumont Bash. Liam does label this as a risky endeavour, but I don’t think either the MC - or we as readers - completely grasp exactly how risky it is. At a time when he is expected to keep tight-lipped about his pick for the season, matching his outfit with that of the hostess’ is a very public way of stating his preference without actually saying the words.
Yet, when we pick this diamond option, the only person who seems to remark on it is…Madeleine.
So much for “risk”, most of us thought, back when this chapter came out. Yet if you do choose this option, it does have a great bearing on events that take place in the story.
To be truly able to understand the repercussions of this particular choice, we need to first discuss what we see of Madeleine’s strategies within the social season itself.
How many times have we seen Madeleine actually interact with Liam in Book 1? 3 to be exact, and 4 if you count her visit to him pre-Coronation. From the moment we meet her, she is seen either hobnobbing with Regina, or asking Constantine to tell them more stories about the Prince. She doesn’t take the time to talk to him, connect with him or give him any time or attention because as far as she is concerned, his opinion matters less. This may possibly be how she won her first social season, in part due to Leo’s probable lack of interest in the social season itself (Had he really found someone in that season, he would have surely mentioned it to the RoE MC while explaining his situation to her). She already knows that the MC is a formidable competitor (through her conversations with Kiara and Penelope at Applewood), but it’s seeing Liam publically state his preference that forces her to realise that no matter who the King, Queen or the Council recommend, the Prince has final say over who he marries.
There is a marked difference in how she interacts with him during the Coronation as well. She is cloying and complimentary when she gives him her gift, smiles when he dances with her. Liam on the other hand is clearly uncomfortable being around her, and clearly struggles to hide his anger when she finally kisses him.
Madeleine tells us at the Nevrakis Ball that “ostentious displays are for those who are either unrefined or insecure. I am neither”. What could be more ostentious or insecure than approaching the Prince - who barely even knows you - in the middle of the night and convincing him that he can have sex with whoever he wants as long as you are the one on the throne?
Though this option doesn’t seem very important, my theory is that this choice (or the support of the ladies of the court) is what tips her over the edge, and into desperation.
The road to the spa is paved with good intentions 😂 Seriously! Liam knows by now that he’s going to get precious little time to spend with the MC once the Coronation preparations are in full swing. He also knows she’s been working hard throughout the social season and probably hasn’t had much chance to relax. So while he really is desperate to spend some time alone with her, this is his way of taking care of her before Coronation duties make him too busy to do so.
Here too, the MC makes sure she does her part in taking care of him as well:
Liam: I’m not going to lie…I could use one [massage]. But I wanted tonight to be about you.
MC: Tonight can be about both of us.
The MC is also able to figure out, while messaging him, just how much responsibility he carries on his shoulders (“it’s like trying to soften rocks back here”). There’s some light banter about the (literal) weight of his crown before he massages her. It’s while he does this that things take a different turn.
This sequence doesn’t add too much to the plot, but it’s very important from a romance standpoint.
(borrowed these caps from YouTube)
Liam could definitely have slept with the MC here. He has the time, the desire to do so and the opportunity. Moreover, she gives him her enthusiastic consent, twice. But even though he really badly wants to do it, he would rather wait until there are no “lingering” questions.
So by the time he actual does make love to her in the maze, we must assume then that he has no lingering questions left. If he had had even 1% of a doubt that Madeleine’s offer would have to be taken seriously, that the MC would not end up being his bride that night, he wouldn’t have done it. He would have waited. Most of all, he would have warned her.
The Beaumont chapters are slightly happier, fun chapters sandwiched between two very dramatic situations, mostly meant as a lull before the storm. Within that time, we are given a breather, treated to the sight of a true Beaumont party, and allowed some downtime with our LIs. Until, of course, the catastrophe that is Liam’s coronation.